BlizzCon 2017 Has Come and Gone
BlizzCon 2017 was one for the books. Between the inaugural HGC Finals, MVP Black finally taking the trophy, the slew of announcements, and the constantly parties, we all have our own special memories from the year’s best gaming event.
Our very own Flagg recaps his experience…his very first BlizzCon! Whether you were also a fresh face, or a seasoned veteran, Flagg’s recap through his most memorable moments and his experience will sure to bring you back to rejoining the Blizzard community!
1st BlizzCon Experience
I’ve been a gamer my entire life.
Over the past 25+ years I have played all kinds of video games. I see some games through until the end credits and never really go back, but other games keep pulling me back in. Those games that never leave my thoughts, the ones that I happily play over and over again all have a common link: they were made by Blizzard Entertainment.
I remember my parent’s bringing home WarCraft 2, peering over my brother’s shoulder and falling in love with art in the instruction manual and music in the game. I remember hearing my dad repeatedly curse out Diablo 2 while I sat watching tv in the living room. I remember buying World of WarCraft a few weeks before I left for my freshman year of college, knowing I would need to cancel during the school year or face terrible grades. I remember buying StarCraft 2 on release day, realizing I had waited over half of my life for the sequel to come out.
Blizzard games have been with me for most of my life, providing an escape from this world through the lens of carefully crafted universes. This year I was fortunate enough to attend my very first BlizzCon, an event that seems like a Blizzard fan’s extended two-day nerd Christmas.
This opportunity came up because of the connections I have made writing for HeroesHype since February of this year, but I didn’t really attend BlizzCon as a writer. I attended as a Blizzard fan. Walking into the Anaheim Convention Center with 30,000 other fans felt like coming home, despite being 1300 miles away from my house in Nebraska.
I did my research before going to BlizzCon, deciding that panels would be viewed later on through the virtual ticket. I wanted to see as many HGC games as I could, so I beelined to the Heroes of the Storm hall to secure good seats with fellow HeroesHype staffers. The Opening Ceremony for BlizzCon is always an exciting time, but there was this electricity watching it live as each announcement was revealed.
Team Freedom did the best they could during the first match of the day, but simply could not keep up with the dominance of MVP Black. I soaked in as much as I could during these first two games, experiencing my very first live esports event. The stage was a sight to see, with lighting effects and secondary screens that reflected the map objectives during the games. When MVP Black cashed in for a WebWeaver phase, Team Freedom’s screens were covered with webs and spiders. These small details added into an overall very visually appealing event.
During the second match between Team Dignitas and Team expert, I found myself sitting next to Team Freedom’s coach at the time: Aether. During Game 2 he was kind enough to let me pick his brain regarding Muradin’s skyrocketing role in the meta and what Team Dignitas could have been doing to stay alive in the tournament. It was a blast learning just a small slice of his extensive knowledge and the encounter certainly made my experience at the BlizzCon stage a unique one.
I would have loved to have cheered on Tempo Storm and Roll20 live, but I stepped out of the Heroes hall to explore the rest of the convention – I knew that I wouldn’t have much time on Day 2. I had no luck finding a seat in bright Overwatch Arena, briefly stepped into the Darkmoon Faire, and even tried out a Dungeon Run for Hearthstone’s upcoming expansion. I quickly discovered that at BlizzCon, there’s never enough time to experience everything you want.
I caught every HGC game on the second day of BlizzCon, slowly working my way forward in the seating area until we were around 7 rows back from the very front on the right hand side. The Semifinal matches were fun to watch, but more lopsided competitively than I had hoped. I wanted the 2016 Final Round rematch between Fnatic and Ballistix to be a close battle going to 5 maps but the crowd soon found themselves far ahead of schedule – both Semifinals were clean 3-0’s.
Watching Game 1 of the Grand Final between Fnatic and MVP Black is my standout memory of BlizzCon 2017. This was by far the closest and most intense Heroes of the Storm game I have watched, so to see it live was an absolute treat. The entire crowd was into the first game, every team fight was met with a roar and the shotcalling was something to marvel at. Fnatic came out swinging to hand MVP Black their very first loss in the tournament. In fact, if you haven’t had a chance to watch Game 1, check it out below:
It would be the only loss MVP Black suffered though as they rebounded in Games 2, 3 and 4. You could tell that the live audience as a whole was more supportive of Fnatic, so the energy in the crowd wasn’t quite the same post Game 1. I’ll be honest, I was rooting for Fnatic too. Plus, as much fun as it was to watch these games live, I made the mistake of going through the day without a soda so my own energy was lacking. I regret not being able to give those last few games as much excitement as I wanted.
After the draft, Game 4 felt like it would inevitably end with MVP Black winning. Fnatic went all in with their solo pick composition of Stitches and Medivh. While they were able to secure several kills with it, that was the only thing they had going for them. MVP Black continually bullied Fnatic around and held a firm grip on the lanes and structures. That feeling of inevitability really creeped in and settled during Game 4, and suddenly it wasn’t 100% about hoping for Fnatic to come back and force a Game 5. Instead, we were watching history in the making, a Korean team that has been dominant for so long but could never seal the deal. These players are titans in Heroes of the Storm, and they were steadily dismantling the European team that most analysts and writers had as the clear favorite to walk away with the Championship.
Game 4 wrapped up and MVP Black was the crowned the 2017 HGC World Champions. The crowd erupted to cheer on their champions as the confetti rained down. The inaugural season of HGC was in the books, and it was a striking success.
I had an unforgettable experience at BlizzCon, and now I’ll have another fantastic Blizzard memory cemented in my brain. I met so many amazing people before, during, and after the event and I feel incredibly lucky to have finally met a lot of the staff and streamers here at HeroesHype. I don’t know if BlizzCon 2018 is in the cards for me yet, but I hope to return someday soon to renew the friendships I made while beginning so many more. Until that point, I’ll keep watching and writing about competitive Heroes of the Storm, both professional and amateur.
The HGC season may be long, but BlizzCon was the perfect event to reignite that spark in all of us. Players redouble their efforts to become the best, casters fine tune their play-by-play cadence, and fans eagerly await more games to cheer on their favorite teams and players.
2018 is a new season for HGC and the Open Division. Let’s make it the best year yet for Heroes of the Storm.
Thanks for joining us at BlizzCon 2017!
Whether you made it to our party with TGN Squadron on Saturday, ran into us on the show floor all weekend, or joined us in spirit through Twitter and Twitch, we’re happy to have connected with you all during this year’s BlizzCon. We’re excited to keep giving our all to bring you the best in Heroes of the Storm content and tournaments, and can’t wait to see you next year.